WCR launched on 1st April 1996. Barry Mole and Mark Barnes, local men to Warminster, had over 35 years experience in radio between them. Together, they approached the director of the Athenaeum Theatre with the idea of a hospital radio service.
The theatre embraced the community project and allocated space at the back of the building to develop as a studio. It was decided to publicise the fund raising effort by carrying out a Restricted Service Licence to the general public. After raising the funds needed, electronics engineer Nick Southorn began to build a basic studio.
The public response was so great it was decided there and then that the newly formed organisation would work towards providing a full public broadcast service to Warminster and the immediate surrounding areas. Sadly, the theatre went into liquidation and work on the newly established studios halted while the group tried to find a new home.
West Wiltshire District Council offered accommodation in the old public toilets attached to Warminster's Assembly Hall. A public appeal, over the air, on the second RSL produced an army of volunteer trades persons who descended upon the new premises. Within a matter of days the team had cleared the old facilities and started work on building the new radio station.
The following years consisted of more RSLs and a battle to change the law banning community radio stations from broadcasting in areas, such as Warminster, with a small commercial radio station. At the same time WCR worked to raise money to expand the services it provides. During this period WCR helped set-up Kingdown FM at Kingdown Community School in 2005, Kingdown FM managed 6 public broadcasts.
This legislation was overturned in 2010, giving WCR the chance to apply for a licence. A year later the licence was issued and on 1st April 2012 WCR began broadcasting. Sixteen years to the day after the station was launched, the people of Warminster secured the radio service they had wanted, campaigned for and supported unwaveringly for over a decade and a half.
In the proceeding years WCR's infrastructure developed and grew. The radio station won several national awards for its programming output, particularly in the areas of local democracy reporting and original radio drama. In 2016, WCR celebrated its 20th anniversary; and the following year, renewed its FM broadcast licence - renewing its commitment to community-centric broadcasting for Warminster and the surrounding communities.
In 2021, WCR reached a quarter of a century of service to the community. Shortly afterwards, the organisation celebrated with another licence renewal. It means WCR will be broadcasting until at least 2027.
Our Key Commitments
- WCR is for the people of Warminster and the immediately surrounding area. It has a local sound to suit all age groups but in particular the 35+ and 16 to 20 age groups. The station provides instant communication, information and entertainment for the population, including those disenfranchised by location, poverty or disability.
- The main types of music broadcast over the course of each week are: pop music, classical, jazz, country, world music and soul. Local artists and unsigned artists also feature.
- The main types of speech output broadcast over the course of each week are: event information, news, community news and information, charity and education promotions and arts programming.
- The service provides original output for a minimum of five hours per day.
- The service provides locally-produced output for a minimum of 13 hours per day.
- The studio is located within the licensed coverage area.
- The service provides a range of community benefits both on-air and off-air, and in doing so, achieves the facilitation of discussion and the expression of opinion, the provision of education or training and the better understanding of the community and the strengthening of links within it.
- Members of the target community contribute to the operation and management of the service.
- The service has mechanisms in place to ensure it is accountable to its target community.